Two minute things.
A new series.
Do you know the two minute rule? It’s a famous productivity rule. If something takes less than 2 minutes to do, just do it. It originally comes from productivity guru David Allen, he first talked about it in his book “Getting Things Done.” In the simplest terms, “If an action will take less than two minutes, it should be done at the moment it’s defined,” David Allen writes.
I like to apply Allen’s rule not only to productivity, but to reduce stress in my life in general, to further my wellness goals, find things that save me time, and just as a general life hack tool. I’m always looking for things, products, or a change in habit, that is going to save me time, get me farther faster, and help me accelerate my wellness and fitness.
The theory not only reframes tasks into small bite size and achievable steps, but argues that you should do a two-minute task right away, because then it’s done and out of your mind. It’s not building up. If you push it off until later, it sits in the back of your mind taking up mindshare. Or, the task can build up to be larger and larger.
Here’s an example of taking something big and make it into a smaller goal: “Read before bed each night” becomes “Read one page.” It takes a larger task and makes it doable and easily achievable. An alternate example of a two minute task that productivity experts give is washing your dishes in the morning right after eating. This actually only takes two minutes. But if you don’t do it right away, then you’re left with a sink full of dishes by the end of the day and the annoyance of doing it later. Small tasks can easily pile up.
To give a personal wellness example, I started doing pushups for two minutes everyday. I bought myself a little two minute timer from Amazon for $10. The kind they use at the nail salon. I specifically don’t use the timer on my phone. This simple and little device easily counts down the two minutes and it’s been life changing.
I set it to two minutes and do all kinds of things throughout the day. How many times do you waste two minutes staring at your phone or scrolling instagram? If you used the two minute timer three times throughout the day to do pushups, at the end of the day, you would have likely completed maybe 20-30 pushups? All for the sacrifice of 6 minutes you probably would not have missed. And slowly you will grow stronger and healthier. But if you told yourself simply, “Do pushups everyday”, this task would seem incredibly burdensome and you likely won’t do it.
This two-minute theory was then adapted by another productivity expert, James Clear, the author of the famous book Atomic Habits. His version can specifically help you set and then keep good habits. His book discusses how every two minute choice you make throughout the day compounds to a good day or bad day and ultimately a good life or bad life of habits that will slowly compound over time.
James Clear restates the theory as such, “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.” It’s such a simple thought process but so powerful. Basically, he says take a new habit and make it into something that is just two minutes. This makes that habit sustainable and easy to start. For example, “Do thirty minutes of yoga” becomes “Take out my yoga mat.”
The broader idea here is that we feel so overwhelmed by new habits that we don’t ever even start them. So even two minutes is better than nothing. I know this sounds silly but at its core, all these two minute changes in your life snowball into powerful changes. that can become pretty powerful over time.
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So this new series is centered on two minute tips, habits, things you can do, or that you can buy that will make your day and ultimately your life easier and simply better. The tip or tool or really cool thing might be from me, someone interesting I’ve met, a doctor, or expert of some kind. But I promise the read will be short, the tip easily implemented, the learning easily digestible, and the purchase easy to use.
I know how hard it is to find time. And we are all so very busy. I am grateful for the readers I have and for getting any of your time. (Especially the paid subscribers!) Thank you! In the future, these posts will be limited to two minute reads.
I’ll start off with two examples in this inaugural post:
Two Minute Thing: Use this silicon pouch to carry your makeup brushes. It keeps them super clean and because it’s magnetic you don’t have to waste time fumbling around trying to open a bag or searching for that specific brush at the bottom of your makeup bag. It’s lightweight and thin and keeps your brushes so clean. It moves from purse, clutch, to bathroom drawer, gym bag, or wherever. Your skin will stay clearer and cleaner. It’s less than $10.
Two Minute Thing: As I mentioned, I purchased a $10 kitchen timer from Amazon. I keep it floating around wherever I am in the house. I even take it with me when I travel. When I have a moment, I decide to do two minutes of push-ups. That’s it. The buzzer goes off. Mine is set at two minutes always. So I’m always starting/stopping two minute intervals throughout the day.
I hope you enjoyed this! Please let me know and leave a comment!